“With the prime wind sites gone – or disappearing quickly – where does the wind industry go from here?”

From a recent Renewable Energy World article comes this comment – “The wind sector is suffering from its own success.

The writer’s reasoning however, is a bit different than we suggested here a short while back in our post – And your thoughts on industrial wind? “I say North America must REVOLT big time and put a stop to this madness!”

Our thought was that, “The greatest threat to the wind industry’s growth is, in fact, the wind industry’s growth.”  We suggested that, as more and more evidence surfaces about the dismal performance of these over-sized tax shelters and their terrible impact on the environment, the taxpayers and ratepayers expected to support these massive energy boondoggles will soon be fed up.  The tide will turn against politicians who continue to support industrial wind in spite of the mounting evidence against it and they will be replaced.  With their departure the subsidies will dry up and the wind developer will be off to the next big scheme.

Elisa Wood, author of the Renewable piece wonders about industrial wind, “Are All the Best Spots Taken?”  It is a very telling article and I highly recommend reading the full text to see how wind developers are now “jockeying” for the shrinking prime spots.  For anyone having witnessed the development of Columbia, Maryland by the Rouse company some 40 years ago, you’ll enjoy the “landowners have become increasingly savvy about the value of their property” scenario.

But, also tucked away in the article is this little gem, “… developers in some mature markets are scaling down on the size of projects, fitting them onto land parcels they may have previously ignored. ‘Projects are also getting smaller, especially in places like New England, where they are smaller to begin with. There are just not the large plots of land there that would allow 100 to 200 turbine sites’, said Bruce Hamilton, a director in Navigant Consulting’s Energy Practice.

Hamilton sees growing use of ‘infill’ development at existing wind farms – the installation of turbines in land left open when the project was initially developed. In some cases, the developer is unable to initially negotiate rights to a parcel in the midst of the wind farm. Then after building a phase or two of the project, the landowner relents. Iberdrola offers a good example of infilling with its Klondike Wind Power Projects on the US West Coast, he said. The 400 MW project was built in multiple stages on private farmland that spans thousands of acres in central Oregon.”

Isn’t this simply a squeeze play strategy to surround the “hold outs” with these 747 size obtrusions and wait until the poor souls can no longer tolerate the noise, flicker, depreciating real estate values and health issues associated with the operation of wind turbines?  Oh, my!  Would the “friendly neighbor” wind developers stoop to such an tactic?

My guess is yes!  And I suspect we’ll see more of this from the “plethora” of wind developers as these LLCs become more and more desperate to get their piece of the subsidy pie.  After all, once the scam is realized by the citizens, it won’t be only the “prime spots” that will be drying up … so will the government hand-outs.

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